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Bodies of Evidence: Mystery Solved By Dana Austin, Ph.D., DABFA Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office Fort Worth, Texas.

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Presentation on theme: "Bodies of Evidence: Mystery Solved By Dana Austin, Ph.D., DABFA Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office Fort Worth, Texas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bodies of Evidence: Mystery Solved By Dana Austin, Ph.D., DABFA Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office Fort Worth, Texas

2 Unidentified Female Skeleton 1993  Bones were recovered in May 1993  Body was evaluated at the Johnson Co. Medical Examiner and biological profile data were submitted to NCIC

3 Unidentified Female Skeleton 2003  Cold case squad re-looked at case in  Brought bone sample to Texas Missing Person’s DNA database  Skeleton brought to Tarrant County Anthropologist for analysis and facial reconstruction

4 Findings: Re-analysis of Skeleton  White Female  Aged  5’4” – 5’9”  Postmortem interval greater than 5 years (prior to discovery in 1993)  DOB probable range =  Date missing estimate =

5 NCIC Data Entry  Entry modified with new biological profile and re-run against possible missing females  Assistance from the Texas Missing Persons Clearinghouse

6   Housed under the Texas DPS Criminal Law Enforcement Division, Special Crimes Service   MPCH was established by the 69th Legislature, regular session in   1986 MPCH became operational

7  Central repository for information pertaining to missing persons and unidentified living/deceased.  Assists law enforcement, families, non-profit organizations, and the general public in handling matters involving missing and unidentified persons.  Publication/distribution of photos  Training for law enforcement  Analytical support (including NCIC entry)

8 Jane Doe 1993 Possibilities  Approximately 79 possible matches were received  31 eliminated from further consideration due to age discrepancy, postmortem interval deviation, and/or inconsistent dental  48 tentative matches

9 Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office  Mark Thompson tracked down the originating departments on these MP  Received dental records or  Encouraged family to submit reference samples to Texas Missing Persons DNA database

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11 August 2003  Rica Garcis from North Richland Hills P.D. revaluates a file on a missing female  She determines that female is still missing  With help from the Texas Missing Persons Clearinghouse she tracks down the mother and assists in getting a DNA sample to the Texas Missing Person’s DNA database

12 Texas Missing Persons DNA Database  Housed at UNTHSC in Fort Worth  Funded by State Legislation in 2001  Extractions begun March 2003  Accepts cases of unidentified remains and relatives of missing persons  First lab to use CODISmp software

13 Texas Missing Person’s DNA Database  Current Profiles for Unidentified/Missing 17 Unidentified remains 17 Unidentified remains 260 Relatives of Missing Persons 260 Relatives of Missing Persons   7 identifications to date   1 st Id in August 2003

14 National DNA Index System NDIS  Current Profiles for Unidentified/Missing 158 Missing Persons 158 Missing Persons 415 Relatives of Missing Persons 415 Relatives of Missing Persons 203 Unidentified Remains 203 Unidentified Remains

15 June 2004 A break in the case  The Texas Missing Persons DNA database identifies our skeletal remains  The mother’s DNA was found to match the DNA extracted from a bone—probability of maternity = 95.21%  This was the first COLD HIT for the database

16 Lessons in Identification  Why hadn’t we come up with her name earlier?  This female was eliminated because her dental didn’t match!  Dental information was incorrectly coded in the original NCIC entry  This female would not have been identified if not for DNA database

17 Case Summary  Female disappeared in 1982 when she was 19 years 11 mos old  Her partial skeletal remains were discovered in 1993  Re-analysis of her skeleton showed evidence of homicide and a longer postmortem interval

18 Case Summary  Her skeletal remains were identified through a DNA database thanks to the hard work of two police agencies  The homicide investigation is in progress

19 TX Missing Persons Clearinghouse Toll-Free Help-line TX Missing Persons DNA Database Steven Gammon National MP Database: Dr. J.E.B. Stewart, FBI Thanks to John Planz, UNTHSC And Patricia Blake, TMPCH


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